I guess that 'awful' 100-400mm forgot to be bad.

Started Feb 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
John Sheehy
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Re: I guess that 'awful' 100-400mm forgot to be bad.
In reply to CanonKen, Feb 18, 2013

CanonKen wrote:

Yes, I am baiting a bit with the title, but despite the endless gear-hate (all products and brands), the truth is all but the worst lenses by a given vendor are able to do great things. This is by no means a good picture, or a particularly interesting bird (I think it is the one that poops on your car just after you get out of the car wash...), but to be able to quickly point a camera at a tiny, fast-moving creature this far away, and get this as a result speaks volumes to how lucky we are to have the gear that is available now.

I meet a lot of people in the field who have a zombie-like mantra of "that isn't a sharp lens".  I suppose that its AF ability is marginal enough that many older cameras couldn't focus it accurately, but the most recent cameras seem to make much better use of it, either out of the box, or with MA.  Also, inability to AF is not a lack of sharpness; people who talk that way generate confusion.  My 6D focuses it perfectly without any MA, even with a Kenko Pro 300 DGX 1.4, in low light.  My 7D AFes it accurately with some MA in medium and good light.  My 10D and 20D and 30D were almost always off a little with the lens, or gave up completely in challenging situations.

It also seems that up until about 2003 or so, the lenses were not assembled optimally, and they were sharper at 100mm than 400mm, which could be very soft.  The test that Luminous Landscape did between it and the 400/5.6L prime is often-quoted, but the fact is, the specimen they used is about as sharp, BARE, as either of my two 100-400s (2004 and 2009) are with 4x worth of TCs stacked.

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